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Nellore: NOVEMBER 6-7, 2012

Jagadguru Visits Nellore

Arriving at Nellore to a grand reception, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji first had Darshan at the Sri Moolasthaneshwara Temple. The devotees then took the Jagadguru in a procession, which was followed by the Dhuli Pada Puja and the offering of Swagata Patrika.

The Jagadguru Speaks About the Glory of Sri Adi Shankaracharya

In His Anugraha Bhashanam, the Jagadguru said that our holy land of Bharata has given birth to many Mahapurushas. Many philosophers, saints, kings, and noble men have walked the lands of Bharata Desha. Owing to their innumerable achievements and their contribution to the masses, they attained fame. Among such Mahapurushas, Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada is foremost. He lived only for 32 years, however His achievements in that short span are so immense that it seems impossible to achieve them even over a 100-year life span. This gives us an idea of His amazing life.

While He took birth in Kerala, He established His Peethams in Karnataka, Gujarat, Odissa and in the far north of Bharata. Even so many centuries ago, He envisioned national integration and acted accordingly. He directed Maharashtrians to offer worship at Rameswaram, the Namboodiris of Kerala to worship at Badari and the priests of Karnataka to offer worship at Pashupathinath in Nepal. He installed Sureshwaracharya from the North to head the Peetham in the south (at Sringeri). He made Padmapadacharya from the South as the Peethadhipati in the West (at Dwaraka), and Totakacharya from Karnataka as the Peethadhipati in the North (at Badari).

If we remember Sri Adi Shankaracharya with such respect to this day, it is due to His personality, learning, compassion and his ability to bring about the welfare of the masses. Many great people came after Him, but no one reached His heights. That is why we revere Him as verily the incarnation of Lord Parameshwara. We do not revere Him as the incarnation of Lord Parameshwara because of blind faith or because we belong to His Parampara. If we revere Sri Krishna as the incarnation of God, we do not do so out of blind faith. If we look at His actions in His life, we cannot but accept that He is the incarnation of God. When still a child, He had lifted the Govardhana mountain on his little finger for seven days. Is it possible for an ordinary human to even consider such a feat? Every Lila of Sri Krishna points to His divinity. So too is the case with Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada. His broad-mindedness, tolerance, compassion and scholarship are beyond compare. It is impossible for the common man to understand his scholarship. The extent of his scholarship can be understood only by those who have studied His Bhashyas. Many who came after the time of Sri Bhagavatpada tried to criticize his works, but have only failed to do so.

How has did he produce such great works? He Himself has answered this question. If you merely use your logic, you cannot determine the Truth. For, each one’s logic and intellect is different and can be used to put forward different perspectives. Hence the Shruti or the Vedas must be taken as the final authority by us who are Astikas.

The Acharya established the Advaita Siddhanta that is the essence of the Vedas. He taught the path of welfare for everyone. Even for those who wonder how they could become a recipient of God’s Grace, chanting the Stotras of the Acharya is a definitive way to Shreyas. God is impartial. To say that God does not grace one is foolishness. It is like complaining against a river stating that it does not give you water, while you take no efforts to go near it. Does the river fail to give water to anyone who comes to it? Such is the nature of God, who graces anyone who approaches Him.

The Jagadguru remembered the the devotee, Kannappa, the ordinary hunter and quoted from Shivananda Lahari illustrating his Bhakti and describing the greatness of Bhakti.

मार्गावर्तितपादुका पशुपतेरङ्गस्य कूर्चायते
गण्डूषांबुनिषेचनं पुररिपोर्दिव्याभिषेकायते ।
किंचिद्भक्षितमांसशेषकबलं नव्योपहारायते
भक्तिः किं न करोत्यहो वनचरो भक्तावतंसायते ॥

Does God accept what we offer? Will God come when we call out to Him? If you offer like Shabari offered, God accepts. If you call out to Him like Draupadi did, He comes. Such is the importance of faith and devotion. One may remember that Sri Krishna refused the welcome and royal hospitality offered by the haughty Duryodhana and instead went to the humble residence of devout Vidura.

The Jagadguru also said that Sri Adi Shankaracharya pointed out the nature of temporal pleasures that make one stray from the path of Dharma. Many today question: Are not Dharma, Nyaya and Satya tenets of the past? Do they apply in the 21st century? The Shastras answer this question and state that one who resorts to Adharma, Anyaya and Asatya might temporarily prosper but will meet with imminent downfall.

अधर्मेणैधते पूर्वं ततो भद्राणि पश्यन्ति ।
ततः सपत्नान् जयति समूलं हि विनश्यति ॥

We all inherently know this. That is why we name our children after Sri Rama and Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira).

Should we stick to the path of Dharma and bear the sufferings that may ensue when adhering to the Dharmic Path? Or should we give up Dharma, escape suffering and enjoy pleasures? It is clear that the Sri Rama and Dharmaraja chose to bear the suffering and stick to Dharma.

Even the Shruti says – सत्यमेव जयते नानृतं सत्येन पन्था विततो देवयानः “Truth alone triumphs, and not, untruth. Through truth alone, the way to gods (Devayana) is traversed.”

Hence, we must realize that it is Dharma that ultimately leads us to happiness. Hence Sri Adi Shankaracharya has stressed that if seek our own good, we must never swerve from Dharma. Many are the teachings that Sri Adi Shankaracharya has conveyed through His works. The Jagadguru blessed that everyone strive to understand His teachings.

The Jagadguru remembered the visits to Nellore of His Guru, Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji, and also His earlier visits with His Guru and by Himself.

The Jagadguru then blessed the gathering and later performed the Sharada Chandramoulishwara Puja.

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Anugraha Bhashanam at Nellore

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Jagadguru Visits the Village of Iskapalem

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji graced the village of Iskapalem about 20 km from Nellore on the evening of 7th November. Thousands of villagers from Iskapalem and neighbouring villages organized a grand reception for the Jagadguru. The Jagadguru first had Darshan at the Sri Rama temple. Following this, the Jagadguru was seated in a beautifully decorated chariot to witness the Dolotsavam of the Utsava Moorti of Sri Rama, Lakshma and Sita. The Jagadguru was then led in a procession along the main streets of the village. Later, the Jagadguru inaugurated Sri Bharati Tirtha Veda Samskrita Pathashala in the village.

The gratitude and overwhelming joy of the village was clearly reflected in the Swagata Patrika offered to the Jagadguru. The first sentences went thus, “Where is the ancient and renowned Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham of Sringeri, and where is the little village of Iskapalem? Where is the stature of Brahma Tejo Murti, the Jagadguru coming in the Parampara of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, and where are the minds of ordinary people as us?” The Swagata Patrika paid obeisance to the Jagadguru as the ocean of compassion.

In His Anugraha Bhashanam, the Jagadguru said that the inauguration of the Veda Samskrita Pathashala was a great boon to the village. Any place, where temples exist and the Vedas are taught and studied, will be blessed. The Jagadguru also had words of praise for the maintenance of the Sri Rama temple, and said that there cannot be a greater blessing for a community than to house a temple and a Veda Pathashala.

The Jagadguru then said that it was natural for everyone to yearn for happiness and shun suffering for oneself and our kith and kin. How can we fulfill this natural desire? It can be done by harbouring good thoughts, speaking good words and engaging in good deeds. Everyone must remember that thoughts leads to expression by the organ of speech, following which actions ensue. Hence everyone must understand the need to nurture positive thoughts. In simple words, a good thought is one that intends good for others. However people often succumb to evil thoughts because of the influence of Kama and Krodha. Kama is the tendency to desire anything that one sets eyes on. The effect of anger is known to all. We must remember that what goes out will come back in due course. The Jagadguru quoted the instance of Ravana getting angry with Hanuman and setting his tail on fire, but that anger boomeranged and resulted in Lanka being burnt by Hanuman. Thus anger leads to unwise actions and when we harm others, we only end up harming ourselves.

Some people question, “I have been wronged by someone. Why should I not take revenge and retaliate?” One must remember what is said in the Vemana Shatakam (a Telugu work): “However great the foe may be, do him good. Your good act will make him think and reform him.”

Let everyone remind oneself, “How much have I received from society?” and also think along the lines of “What have I given in return to the society?”

Building a temple or setting up a Veda Pathashala is not possible for all. However everyone can support it by their actions and words. Everyone has good qualities and some talent or the other. Realize this fact and learn to apply your talent. What is the purpose of life if one is unable to do any good?

The Jagadguru then reminded the villagers that everyone had a role in the maintaining of the temple and the setting up of the Pathashala. The Jagadguru gave the illustration of a place where a Kumbhabhisheka had taken place, and had commended everyone in the community for making it happen. The chief organizers however came to the Jagadguru and expressed that only a few had actually helped the cause. The Jagadguru had replied that everyone indeed had played a role, for even if they had not directly contributed, they had expressed their support by not causing any kind of trouble for the noble deed.

The Jagadguru remarked that the word “Ku-graamam” used in the Swagata Patrika to describe the village of Iskapalem need not be used, and instead termed Iskapalem a “Su-graamam” for it housed the temple of Sri Rama and now, a Veda Samskrita Pathashala.

The Jagadguru then had words of praise for Sri Srinvasa Reddy and mentioned that it was his deep sense of devotion and pure heart that brought the Jagadguru to Nellore and Iskapalem, for the Yatra was originally supposed to have moved to Srisailam via Cuddapah. Sri Srinivasa Reddy, his father, Sri Sudhakara Reddy and his elder brother were then felicitated for setting a shining example for the fact that wealth blessed upon oneself by the Lord is a result of Punya in the past lives, and must be used for charitable purposes.

The Jagadguru expressed immense satisfaction and joy at the visit to Iskapalem, blessed the villagers and returned to Nellore. Having blessed the devotees with Mantrakshata the following morning, the Jagadguru started from Nellore in the afternoon of November 8th.

 

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